As predicted 15 years ago, every single cruise booking made today now has an Internet component
A travel agent makes a cruise booking over the Internet
CruiseMates came alive on the Internet way back in 1999. Preceding the Internet there were online services like Prodigy and AOL, which were eventually replaced by the Internet. In 1999 my partner and I attended the Seatrade conference in Miami where everyone was talking about the eventual impact of the Internet, which in 1999 was just beginning to pierce the consciousness of the great majority. For the most part, in 1999 the Internet was little more than a convenient place to waste time chatting with mostly younger people you didn't really know.
But one person at that 1999 Seatrade convention, Rod McLeod, who has served a very distinguished career in many roles within the cruise industry, made a statement about the Internet that at the time actually shocked most of the people in attendance, "In ten years there will not a be a single cruise transaction that does have an internet component."
Some cruise lines will still mail a document package but they charge a fee for it. I recall when the cruise lines started moving to the internet for e-docs and online check-in there were many upset cruisers. Most were older people who had cruised for years and were accustomed to getting the much-anticipated package in their mail box, but a lot of younger cruisers still complain about the demise of hard copy docs being mailed since their arrival provided an emotional input, with the excitement building since 'our docs just arrived!'
Personally I am happy with going online and checking in, and then printing off just one piece of paper to bring to the pier. And as many know, if all you have is your passport and booking number you will be fine at the pier check-in desk.
I've been thinking about this thread and I recalled a TVA corporate management retreat I attended about 16 years ago, which was led by a Harvard professor. In it he posited the idea of the 'bundling' of services in the future where we'd all be getting our phone, TV, and utilities service from a single provider who could customize things to our specific needs. He mentioned the internet being part of it too but at the time it still was virtually all Compuserve, AOL, and the other subscriber services. Many in the room were skeptical of the proposition, but he made sense in his ensuing 4 hours of lecture and interaction with us, and in the end most of us left thinking he might be right.
And look where we are today. I forget his name but the man was indeed prescient.
I have often thought about how computers and the internet has so radically changed and is still changing our lives.
My job has always required me to do presentations that include photos. I used to have to take my roll of film in and get it made into slides that I arranged in one of those round trays and I would then show them to the group.
Now that is all done at my desk with my computer and Power Point - wonderful! I can also crop and manipulate the images - fantastic!
Computers and the internet has actually empowered the common person. I no longer need a photo finishing shop. Nor do I need a printer (most of the time), I don't have to go to a sound studio to mix the music for my presentations and I can add video without a video shop (most of the time).
Now with 3D printers becoming more accurate and cheaper, I believe we are about to see a revolution in manufacturing. Why build something in a factory, package it, ship it to a store, put it on display, etc - when you can just sell a digital file that someone can buy and download and then recreate the object at home.
There has already been an instance where a person made a rifle, that actually fired, from a digital file. Although THAT is a little scary, I do believe in the next 10 years or less you will be able to download a file that will allow you to print, say a special Lego piece or something similar.